Aug 30, 2012


Yesterday I visited the first exhibition technically to be set-up and ready for when the trail starts; Mary-Louise Plum previewed her solo show  HAPPYLAND at the Walthamstow Wine Club.

The Walthamstow Wine Club is through the garage door of 65-60 Grove Road, follow the sign and you will see masks in the window and a line of painted telephones as door stops for the venue. The masks and telephones are in fact part of Marie Louise Plum's work, and no surprise that it spills outside the door because she has so much up on display!

Mary describes her exhibition as existing in 'the cracks between dreams and nightmares', and her work does wonder and linger in between opposites; it is bizzare and twisted but at the same time sweet and cheerful. Even though I know the terrifying goblin lurking over the innocent child is probably not going to end well, the vivid colours and animated figures she creates makes me think the goblin ain't so bad, he is probably just lonely. The same goes for the huge slug man gorging on the back of girls head or a clown kidnapping a kid. This playfulness that exists in the illustrations continues to the customized display boxes of bizarre toys and figurines. There is an open suitcase full of masks that you can go on and try on and see if you feel like a creepy, voyeuristic clown or just a clown looking for a buddy.

A 'found art' weight is in a lot of her work, many of the 'canvases' she uses were picked up in charity shops, car-boots or skips and she weaves her illustrations or installations with the existing prints and shapes of the canvas or objects. There was a found fish in glass completely covered in all sorts of collected materials, but coloured and brightly matched to transform all the scrap into a pleasant site...although once you start looking closely at the individual objects in the displays you perhaps may be surprised to see a such things as a pregnant Barbie with a see through stomach.
My favourite work in the exhibit was Mary's illustrations that were done on pages from a used children's colouring books, nightmares lingering on the playful page eating up the existing identity. It perfectly captures the feel of the entire exhibition; individual, disturbing and somehow as visually pleasant as a rainbow. 

HAPPYLAND is no.159 in the guide

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